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Budget cuts force Navy's Blue Angels stunt pilots to cancel performances for the rest of 2013
Absent structural changes, the combination of 10-year budget caps Congress has already approved and rising growth in personnel costs mean DoD would be able to sign paychecks, administer healthcare benefits and not much more.
In his first policy speech, new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised the military, but acknowledged DoD has grown older and more expensive in almost every way. While not a tacit acceptance of the automatic budget cuts imposed by sequestration, Hagel acknowledged it was time for the military to reassess how it can operate in the new budgetary environment where there will be fewer dollars available.
DoD says it's committed to making sure civilians are not furloughed in fiscal 2014, which begins in October. But if sequestration remains in place, the alternative would almost certainly be involuntary reductions in force for both civilian workers and uniformed service members, officials say.
Furlough notices will now be sent to employees in early May. Actual furloughs will begin in mid-to-late June, placing most Defense civilians on unpaid leave roughly one day per week for the final seven pay periods of the fiscal year.
APNewsBreak: Congress funding shift allows Pentagon to cut number of unpaid furlough days
The Pentagon will sharply cut the number of unpaid furlough days civilians will be forced to take over the next several months from 22 to 14. According to defense officials, Secretary Chuck Hagel made the decision Wednesday. DoD said last week it would review its furlough plan after Congress shifted more than $10 billion to military operations and maintenance accounts as part of the bill funding agencies through the remainder of 2013.
AFGE's J. David Cox, and Federal Times Senior Writer Sean Reilly will talk about the impact of sequestration and the possiblity that federal workers will be furloughed.
March 27, 2013
Defense budget watchers say despite abundant evidence to the contrary, the Pentagon appears to believe it will eventually get most of its funding wishes over the coming few years. "Whether [sequestration] stays in place for nine more years is an open question, but it's certainly going to be in place for the foreseeable future," said Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Furloughs are still in the federal forecast. But a funny thing happened last week that has some long-time, long-suffering government types wondering if things are going to be as tough as expected, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
National Guard mistakenly sends furlough notices to Guard members in up to 21 states
In 2006, the service aimed to cut its fuel use by 10 percent. By 2012, it had reduced consumption by 12 percent.
After passage of the 2013 funding bill earlier today, the Pentagon is reassessing its need for civilian furloughs. The Defense Department said it will delay issuance of furlough notices to its 780,000 civilian workers for two weeks. DoD had originally planned to begin sending out furlough notices today.
The House voted today to approve a measure to fund federal agencies through the remainder of fiscal 2013. The bill averts a government shutdown but extends the freeze on federal employees' pay through the end of 2013. The bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The Defense Department released an updated time table on civilian employee furloughs, including dates when furlough notices will go out and when furloughs are set to begin.
Military pay is exempt from the automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, that went into effect earlier this month. But scores of military programs that impact service members in their everyday lives, such as tuition assistance and family programs, are not protected from the across-the-board budget reductions. Officials from the Defense Department and the military services testified before the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on military personnel on the impact of the budget cuts on training, retention and family-assistance programs.
The top U.S. intelligence chief says that budget cuts have jeopardized America's security and safety -- and will only get worse over time.
U.S. Cyber Command is putting together dozens of groups to defend the military's network, to work with combatant commanders on offensive tactics and to respond to attacks against the nation. Gen. Keith Alexander, however, said budget cuts will delay DoD's ability to recruit and train team members.
The Pentagon's acquisition chief said he's planning day-to-day, not year-to-year because of sequestration's indiscriminate cuts and political uncertainty over DoD's budget. In 2014, there will be more opportunities to prioritize, but spending reductions also will lead to cancellation of contracts and downsizing of the military and civilian workforce.
The Pentagon will send furlough notices to civilian employees in the next two weeks. Defense components would not be spared from furloughs, regardless of any other efforts they take to offset sequestration.